President Nixon and the Role of Intelligence in the 1973 Arab-Israeli War

This collection highlights the causes and consequences of US Intelligence Community’s (IC) failure to foresee the October 1973 Arab-Israeli War, also known as the October War or the Yom Kippur War. A coalition of Arab nations led by Egypt and Syria launched a surprise attack on Israel on October 6, the day of Yom Kippur. Prior to October 6, the CIA concluded that the Arabs would not attack, so the offensive surprised US policymakers as well as Israel. Directorate of Intelligence (DI) analysts believed that Arab military inferiority would militate against an attack on Israel. DI analysis did not explore the possibility that leaders might go to war--even at the risk of losing--to pursue political objectives. According to an internal postmortem, Agency analysis was impaired by preconceptions about Arab military capabilities, information overload, rational actor modeling and groupthink.

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Documents in this Collection

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Central Intelligence Bulletin: Syria-Israel

Document Number: 51112a4a993247d4d8394410


Central Intelligence Bulletin: USSR, Arab States-Israel

Document Number: 51112a4a993247d4d839441e


Central Intelligence Bulletin: USSR-Syria

Document Number: 51112a4a993247d4d839443d


CIA - Office of National Estimates: The Expulsion from Egypt - Some Consequences for the Soviets

Document Number: 51112a4b993247d4d8394533


CIA - Office of National Estimates: The Russian Ouster--Causes and Consequences

Document Number: 51112a4b993247d4d8394546


CIA Center for the Study of Intelligence: Intelligence and the 1973 Arab-Israeli War

Document Number: 51112a4a993247d4d8394488


CIA Historical Collections Division: CIA's Middle East Task Force and the 1973 Arab-Israeli War

Document Number: 51112a4a993247d4d8394482


CIA Memo: Brezhnevs Political Position in the Wake of the Middle East War; Excerpts from 5 December European Brief in Reference to Brezhnev

Document Number: 51112a4b993247d4d8394529


CIA Memo: Post Mortem Phase II

Document Number: 51112a4b993247d4d8394512


CIA Memo: The USSR and the Arab Oil Weapon

Document Number: 51112a4b993247d4d839453a